Chapter 1 : Prisoner 1272
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If you've read any of my other stories, this is a completely different style. I'd really appreciate any feedback on it, good or constructive!
Prisoner 1272. That's what they called me now; who I had become. An inmate of Azkaban. Losing my identity was just another consequence of being here: part of a long list. The top of that list was accepting that this was the place I would take my last breath, feel my last heartbeat. I had only been here for a matter of weeks, but already my time had come; I was dying. The Dementors knew, of course. They could sense death, could almost taste the soul that would soon leave my body and become theirs for the taking. They were crowded around my tiny cell like a wake of vultures, paying no attention to the cries of my fellow inmates who were taunted by horrors of their pasts.
My eyes were closed as I lay on the bed that had become mine, the only item of furniture in my cold, grey cell, but that didn't stop me knowing they were there. I could feel their presence, hear each time they inhaled, hungry for my soul. This was it. They knew it, I knew it. As the icy breath of the Dementors descended upon me, the last memory I would ever see entered my mind; the event that led to my imprisonment.
"Please, Evelyn, don't do this. He isn't worth it, surely you must see that?"
"How can you say that? After everything! You were there, you saw his expression. I'll see the look in his eyes until the day I die. I have to do this for him."
"No, you don't have to, you want to. Merlin knows why, you know you'll die there-Azkaban. Why would anyone put themselves through that? Trust me, Ev, I've been there. Even spending an hour there was-" he paused, I could see that he was searching for the right word, "haunting. It was haunting. The way I felt when I was there, it still sends a shiver down my spine to think of it. I can't let you do this. I can't let you go there."
"I'm not asking for you to understand. I know how Azkaban made you feel, how it still makes you feel. And I know how you feel about-"
"Don't say his name!" his voice was a growl when he interrupted, he knew what I was going to say.
"Fine. Him. I know how you feel about him. You've made yourself abundantly clear and that breaks my heart. It hurts like nothing I've ever experienced, not being able to say his name, or talk about him, worst is seeing the hatred in your eyes for him and disappointment for me. So, as I said, I'm not asking you to understand why I need to do this, it's a lost cause and I've accepted that. But I will need your help. I'm not strong enough to do this on my own. Please. If you truly love me, in spite of all this, you'll grant me this wish. My final wish."
His face flinched at my words and for several minutes he was silent. Finally, in almost a whisper, he spoke. "As you wish. I'll help. I'll make the potion and the necessary arrangements." He spoke to the floor, refusing to look at me.
I took his hands in mine, ignoring the spasm of pain that flashed across his face at my touch.
"Thank you, my love." I replied.
"Will you-are you...scared?" his voice was barely audible now.
"No. No, I'm not. I know why I'm doing this and that will get me through.
You know me, I'm fearless." I smiled, trying to lighten the mood.
"Nothing is more terrifying than fearlessness." He responded simply.
His agreement to help me was the final nail in my coffin. It was merely days after we had been given the news that I was dying. They had given me months, but that had turned to weeks since my arrival here. Death is accelerated in Azkaban.
Life was leaving me. I could feel my body weakening, every organ in giving up on me. Except, it wasn't my body that it was leaving. The hands that were clenching in pain were not mine. The legs that could no longer bear weight were not mine. And the chest that was rising and falling with every last breath was not mine.
They all belonged to my son. My Barty, who had been falsely accused of being a Death Eater; imprisoned for the unspeakable crimes of others.
I had known as soon as he had been sentenced to come here what I needed to do. He was so young, had his entire life ahead of him. I, on the other hand, was dying. Dying soon was an inevitability for me, but it didn't have to be for my only child. Convincing my husband was the most difficult part. I was too ill to make the Polyjuice potion and I needed him to use his position at work to gain permission for us to visit our son.
We made the change just in time. Barty was so lifeless when we visited, we knew he was dying, as did the Dementors. He left with his father, as me, and I condemned myself to spending the rest of my life in Azkaban. With only the worst of my own memories for company.
I would take Barty's secret with me to the grave. It was his face I could see now, not in happier times, but the paralysing fear that struck him as his own father sent him to Azkaban. That face was the last thing I saw as I took my final breath.
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